Chapter One – 3.4
Footsteps thundered behind him with no regard for those of the public still out at this late hour, move or be moved was seemingly the mindset of the pursuers. The dim lighting of this run-down part of town was essentially non-existent with close to every lamp post broken or fading. It was light enough for the graffiti that covered every wall space to be illuminated, mostly showing individuals different preferences on what art was but others depicting a far more important meaning. These ones were the ones that got you in trouble. The ones that the authorities made sure to remove. If you happened upon them at the right time, when the paint was fresh and still dripping, you could be sure to see the huge words plastered on the walls. They had to be kept simple as time was limited. Even in the rebellion creative spirit was kept to a minimum. For Adrian, the words tended to be the most provocative out of them all. His favorite was ‘Enough’. This could be interpreted in many different ways which was what he liked about it. In recent weeks, the intermittent murmuring about a revolution had become constant but with this also came the increased enforcement. A city-wide crackdown had been initiated, curfews introduced and overall increased surveillance evident. This had made life harder for those going against the regime. Extra care had to be taken as punishments had also been made more severe but nonetheless, those committed to the cause took no heed. Little did they know detrimental this would end up being.
The waves were no longer lapping at the side of the dingy as it had been earlier in the day, before the arrival of the raging tempest. The wooden dingy, crafted from a totara tree from back home and emblazoned with words and symbols of a now lost language, had been easily carving through the tranquil seas until the weather changed for the worse around midday. The scorching sun engulfed by clouds provided a pleasant temperature decrease, however, the storm that came with it made sailing impossible. The only option was to sit and wait. Adrian was used to sitting and waiting. He had done so for the majority of his life, waiting for a chance to come that would allow him to escape the controlled society that he was born into. Never one for conformity, this venture was certainly the pinnacle of it. All his life he had gone against the grain much to the disapproval of his teachers and parents who were worried for his safety. Although they were forgiving, those in true power were not so much. Many warnings and even threats had been imposed to try and control this free spirit but were never successful. So, the last resort had been implemented. With capital punishment still an outlawed exercise many other ‘resolutions’ that were once frowned upon were now the primary ways of teaching someone a lesson. Adrian’s actions had been so severe that he was sentenced to a potentially never-ending lesson, one to be endured alone, in exile.
The waves that were once insignificant were now dwarfing the boat. If you were watching from afar you would struggle to see it emerge from the sea even after the passing of a wave. With no better options present; Adrian continued on, not sure of his destination but simultaneously without a care. Anywhere was better than where he had been. As a matter of fact, this time alone gave him the chance to think and allow his mind to wander to places that had been forbidden before. The ‘freedom’ seemed to encourage and influence his thoughts as he found himself questioning his previous lifestyle and what it had entailed. The function of the society was decided by those in power, no public input was allowed in determining laws or ways of life.
How this was allowed to occur was the main question that he struggled to answer. Was it because the public felt it was the best form of society? Maybe they didn’t know any better? Or was it due to fear of the government?
The final answer was what he felt was the most correct. Although it was without a doubt a combination of all of them; the implications of going against the regime was what deterred many people from expressing their opinions. Initially, this was what had prevented him from performing any serious acts of resistance. By the time he had overcome these fears of repercussions, the government was already onto him. Looking back, realisation dawned on him that this was a prime example of what his mother used to always tell him; ‘when a window of opportunity presents itself, don’t pull the blind’. He remembered this in his mother’s encouraging voice, filling him with a longing for home. It did not last long as he quickly shook it from within and replaced it with dismay at his wasted chance to make a change in society. The fleeting feeling had a lasting effect; his connections to home had not been completely severed.
Escaping from these consuming thoughts Adrian raised his eyes to the sky only to see that darkness was descending on him faster than thought. This could be problematic, he was certainly not prepared for nighttime and the troubles that came with it. Yet, there was a peacefulness that came with the blackness, as, for the first time ever he could see the stars in all their beauty. They provided comfort in an unknown territory. Escaping from his lips and disappearing into the night as quickly as they emerged, he whispered, “This is how life should be.”
Alex Plimmer, English